Search Ifa articles

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Treatise on the role of Orisa priest and devotee in consulting Orisa Oracles

Aboru aboye aboshishe,

A recent exchange made me realize that I've not really seen anyone talk about the role of the Orisa priest in consulting Orisa oracles. It seems that such an important topics usually remains in the realm of ritual, where teacher and adept talk about what hands to pick, what prayers to say and what Ebo to offer. Even less is said to the non-priest who sits on the mat to listen to what the Orisa (Ifa or Others via Ikin, Opele, or Dinlogun) have to say, and ask those important questions that must be asked.

So what then is the role of the Babalawo or Olorisha? In my mind, we have simple responsibilities, though they are not easy. We, as priests, are responsible for:

1. Being correctly initiated/ordained and trained

Ethics demand that we portray ourselves as what we are suited and capable of doing, nothing more, nothing less.

2. Knowing the correct ritual and procedure
3. Being skilled in the art of interpretation
4. Understanding that our role is not as personal advsior, but as interpreter of what the Orisa/IFA says
5. Always being impartial (that's why I always give the adherent who's consulting the oracle the option to speak their request directly to the ibo in whispers I can not hear)
6. Facilitating the process of offering Ebo in order to remove obstacles
7. Acting with Iwa Rere and Iwa Pele (cool character and cool head) and suggest others do the same
8. Helping those who need help, and when necessary for those in dire need and without funds, doing it even though your only payment is the knowledge that Orisa, Egbe, Isheshe and Olodumare have seen your act of kindness made in their names for the good of another human being
9. Not puting undue stress on the client, or pressure them into doing things that aren't appropriate or necessary.
10. Making clear that initiations are always the choice of the client, even if the Odu calls for initiations, devotees should never be pressured into initiations or ceremonies. Other than ebo, clients (and their Ori) must be fully prepared before they undertake deeper steps into the religion.
11. Maintaining ethical boundaries, don't over charge, don't take psychological, physica or sexual advantage of your clients, the list goes on, but the point is always maintain your ethical integrity.
12. Keeping your ego in check, we don't know it all, we aren't perfect, and we are not the Orisa

That all said what is the responsibility of the devotee in this process??

1. Do not ask that which you already know the answer to, or ask flippant, trivial or immoral questions
2. Support your Awo Ifa or Awo Orisa with reasonable payment, and don't claim poverty then go out and waste money on unnecessary items or services
3. If you are going to d'afa or have a dinlogun divination, expect there is a good chance you will have an Ebo to perform, and it is your responsibility to perform that Ebo (If you are given an answer to help you, don't expect to be helped if you don't perform the required steps)
4. Understand that everything told to you during D'afa or 'dinlogun divination is advice, your can take it or leave it, but it is meant to help you
5. Ask questions, but think deeply about what you want to ask, and know that the Orisa won't always give your the answer you want to hear.
6. Show respect to the Orisa and to the Awo Ifa/Awo Orisa who are assisting you
7. Don't expect quick fixes or impossible solutions. If you deal drugs, don't expect the Orisa to keep you out of jail. If you are lazy don't expect the Orisa to give you a high powered, high paying job. If you were arrested for embezzling funds, own up to your dirty deeds and don't expect the Orisa to get you out of it (though perhaps they can help you get leniency)
8. Don't follow blindly, it's ok to ask questions, priests aren't perfect, nor are we the Orisa incarnate on earth, we are people, with all the faults that people have

It is Ika Ofun that tells us:

ni dá ilë, á bá ilë læ

Ìká funfun 
Ìká Òfún 
A dífá fún àgbààgbà mêrindínlógún 
Wôn ñ relé Ifë wôn ñ læ rèé tæræ ogbó 
Àwæn lè gbó, àwæn lè tô bí Olódùmarè ti rán wæn dá Ifá sí 
Wôn ni wôn á gbó, wôn á tô shùgbôn kí wôn pa ìkìlö mô 
Wôn ní kí wôn má fi esúrú pe esúrú 
Wôn ní kí wôn má fi esùrù pe esùrù 
Wôn ní kí wôn má fi odíde pe oode 
Wôn ní kí wôn má fi ewé ìrókò pe ewé oriro 
Wôn ní kí wôn má fi àìmöwë bá wôn dé odò 
Wôn ní kí wôn má fi àìlókò bá wôn ké hàín-hàín 
Wôn ní kí wôn má gba èbùrú wælé Akálá 
Wôn ní kí wôn má fi ìkoóde nu ìdí 
Wôn ní kí wôn má shu sí epo 
Wôn ní kí wôn má tö sí àfö 
Wôn ní kí wôn má gba öpá l’ôwô afôjú 
Wôn ní kí wôn má gba öpá l’ôwô ogbó 
Wôn ní kí wôn má gba obìnrin ògbóni 
Wôn ní kí wôn má gba obìnrin örê 
Wôn ní kí wôn má sörö ìmúlë l’êhìn 
Wôn ní kí wôn má sànán ìbàntê awo 
Wôn délé ayé tán ohun tí wôn ní kí wôn má e ni wôn ñ e 
Wôn wá bërë síí kú 
Wôn fi igbe ta, wôn ní Örúnmìlà ñ pa wôn 
Örúnmìlà ní òun kô l’òun ñ pa wôn 
Örúnmìlà ní àìpa ìkìlö mô wæn l’ó ñ pa wôn 
Àgbà re dæwô re 
Àgbà mi dæwô mi 
Àgbà kìí wí fún ni têlë kí ó tó kan ni 

Ika Ofun 

Those who break the trust shall suffer. 

1. They (16 elders) walked to Ile Ife in order to request long life. Will we live as long as Olodumare (God) was their question to Ifa. They (the Babalawos) warned, do not call esuru ( a type of yam) esuru (Which means do not say what you do not know). 
2. They warned the elders, do not call esuru (the sacred stories) Esuru. (Which means do not do rites of which you do not have the basic knowledge). 
3. They warned them that odide (the parakeet) should not be called oode (murcielago). (Which means, never mislead the people. Do not send a person on a false road). 
4. They warned them not to say that the leaves of the Ceiba are leaves of the Oriro tree. (Which means never deceive the people). 
5. They warned them not to try to swim when they do not know how to swim. (Which means do not pretend to be wise when you are not). 
6. They warned them to be humble and never be egocentric. 
7. They warned them not to enter the house of AKALA (title of a chief in Ifa) with bad intentions. (Which means not to be false). 
8. They warned them not to use the feathers of Ikoode (sacred parrot's feathers) to clean their bottoms. (Which means not to break Taboo/Prohibitions).
9. They warned them not to defecate in Epo (food for Ifa/Orisha). (Which means always keep the sacred instruments clean). 
10. They warned them that they should not urinate in Afo (the place where palm oil is made in Yorubaland). (Which means keep the Temple clean). 
11. They warned them not to take the blind man's cane. (Which means they should always respect those who are weaker and treat people well and with due respect). 
12. They warned them not to take an old man's cane. (Which means to respect the Elders and treat them well). 
13. They warned them not to go to bed with the wife of an Ogboni (title of a Politician/Judge). (Which means respect the moral laws). 
14. They warned them never to go to bed with the wife of a friend. (Which means not to betray a friend). 
15. They warned them not to be gossipers. (Which means never reveal secrets). 
16. They warned them not to disrespect, or ever go to bed with the wife of a Babalawo. (Which means respect those who occupy important positions). 

When the Elders arrived upon the Earth, they did exactly the things that they were forbidden to do. They began to die one after another. They screamed and accused Orunmila of assassinating them. Orunmila said that it was not him who was killing them. Orunmila said that the Elders were dying because they did not follow the Commandments Of Ifa. Your Eldership is your responsibility. My Eldership is my responsibility. Eldership does not tell a person ahead of time before it touches one.

Aboru Aboye Aboshishe
marcos Ifalola